County to seek federal disaster aidBREWSTER — Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be in Nobles County today to survey damage caused by flood waters of a couple weeks ago. The FEMA visit is the second within a week, and will likely lead to federal disaster aid for portions of the county.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
BREWSTER — Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be in Nobles County today to survey damage caused by flood waters of a couple weeks ago. The FEMA visit is the second within a week, and will likely lead to federal disaster aid for portions of the county.
During Tuesday morning’s Nobles County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, county emergency management director Dan Anderson reported that nearly $114,000 in damages to roads and culverts had been sustained in the county. The figure is anticipated to increase, as township officials have until 4:30 p.m. today to present Anderson with their preliminary damage assessments.
Nobles County needed to have damages of at least $67,000 to qualify for federal assistance.
The last time Nobles County received federal disaster aid was in June 2008, when a Presidential Disaster Declaration was made on townships in the western half of the county. As a result of that declaration, Anderson said FEMA paid out roughly 75 percent of the $293,000 in reported damage. Nearly $250,000 was needed just to replace gravel that washed away from township roads.
Anderson anticipates the majority of the costs this time around will also be to replace gravel. What’s different from the 2008 flooding, however, is that damage estimates are more widespread, with townships reporting smaller damage totals.
“This time, we don’t have those big ticket counties,” Anderson said, adding that Graham Lakes Township is looking to recoup nearly $30,000 in added costs for repairs. The next highest claim comes from Hersey Township, with nearly $23,000 in reportable damage. As of Tuesday, four townships had yet to file a report with Anderson’s office, and four townships had reported damage of $10,000 or less.
The City of Worthington reported $7,120 in additional expenses — attributed primarily to overtime work in monitoring the pumps at the wastewater treatment plant and providing clean-up efforts.
Overall, Anderson said the county was rather lucky to have not sustained major damage in the late-September deluge.
“We don’t have any county road damage,” he said.
As he scouted out some of the worst damage Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the FEMA visit, Anderson maneuvered down a couple of sections of gravel road that sustained washouts due to overloaded culverts.
Bright orange-colored snow fences barricaded two sections along Roberts Avenue — between 140th and 150th streets near Jack Creek in Graham Lakes Township, and between 190th and 200th streets in Hersey Township in northeastern Nobles County. In Graham Lakes Township, the road had yet to be fixed — floodwaters washed out a 3- to 4-foot-wide section of clay, dirt and gravel — and the steel culvert will need to be replaced, Anderson said.
The site will likely be the first stop on Anderson’s tour with FEMA officials today, followed by the site in Hersey Township, where some work has already been done to repair the damage to both the culvert and road. The timing of the damage has created issues for the townships, many of which have board members that are also busy trying to get their crops out of the field.
“They’re still working to fix the gravel spots on the roads,” Anderson said. “That will continue for another week or so.”
Tuesday morning, Nobles County commissioners approved two resolutions related to the flooding — one seeking the Presidential Disaster Declaration, and the second to declare a State of Emergency.